Most everyone I know has a competitive streak in them. For some, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Then for others, winning is perhaps at best a desire but definitely not the main objective of competition.
We most often associate competition in sports but in many facets of life one can feel the tingling sensation that is brought about as we strive to be the best. Unfortunately competition can sometimes draw the worst out of people as well when jealousy and pride rear their ugly heads to distort the good healthy, friendly spirit of the contest.
This week, as the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada begin, the ultimate example of competition is witnessed by us all as athletes from around the world have but this one opportunity to prove their supremacy in each of the individual contests. It is always an exciting experience and the spectacle is full of beautiful pagentry to watch by us all. But you can bet for sure that the participants are experiencing physical and emotional feelings that very few people ever will. The pressure of this moment is a study of its own in psychological warefare and self confidence.
Business and sports are much alike in many ways but certainly the competitive aspect overshadows the other ways by far. From the small town corner groceries to the global tech and merchandise markets, competition energizes the participants, stimulates creativity and ultimately results in the greatest discoveries and inventions the mind can comprehend.
Watching the Olympics reminds me of a comment I heard many Olympics ago from and American cross country skiing competitor named Koch. He was the odds on favorite to win 2 or 3 gold medals for the USA and consequently had a great deal of press following him every step of the way as he finished each race. As circumstances sometimes happen, he finished the first race and didn’t medal. When interviewed and asked why he failed to win, he simply stated with a smile that he skiied the best he could that day but it just wasn’t good enough to win a medal. He none-the-less, was proud of his performance.
The next day another competition followed that Mr. Koch was favored to win and once again he failed to even medal. The press was getting hungry for a story of unfair circumstance or cheating by the opponents that kept our man from winning. But Mr. Koch explained once again that he felt he really gave it his best but just was out scored that day by someone better.
Finally the last competitive opportunity to win gold came about and the pressure was felt by the contestants and us viewers also. The news media was focused on the race and a grueling one it was. All throughout the heat, cameras stayed glued on Mr. Koch and his close competitors while multi-lingual dialog on their progress from the press corps was flowing from every news tent on property.
Finally the race was over. Mr. Koch finished but did not win the gold medal in the race and consequently none of his events. He continued to be inundated with questions as to why he failed to win gold when finally he stopped all inquiries with this one simple statement. He said, “I did the best I could every race I was in.” “The essence of competition isn’t always to be number one, but to strive for excellence.” That is what I did!
In Daniel 6:3, Daniel distinguished himself above governors and satraps because of an “excellent spirit was in him.” Jesus Himself urged us in Matthew 25:14-29 to recognize and use our talents and gifts or or loose them. He didn’t say you had to be number one or loose them. He expects us to develop them and use them for His honor and glory. Think of it as His way of using you for ministry.
So today I release you from an fear of failure and expectation, and say to you in Jesus name. “The essence of competition isn’t that you need to be number one, but to always strive for excellence in all you do and you will receive your just reward on earth and in heaven.
Blessings…..Rich Forster KBJ Publisher